Diane Voge knows that some people don't like going to the Beaufort County Animal Shelter.
The shelter volunteer says the Burton facility is a long drive for some county residents.
"And second, they don't want to go into an environment where animals are put down," she added.
An anonymous donation from a Bluffton woman and a rent discount from developer 303 Associates will change that, shelter director Tallulah Trice said.
Tabby House will open Dec. 15 in Suite 13 of Beaufort Town Center as a cat-adoption center, where people can also play with the animals. A thrift store is planned for the space next door, and its proceeds will help pay for the volunteer-run adoption center.
Voge is coordinating the effort to renovate the space, which was painted this week. Local artist Kay Owens is painting a mural on the walls.
The shelter has tried to combat a cat overpopulation problem this year. Last year's warm winter meant a longer breeding season, and the center has struggled to find homes for the cats.
"People just don't realize how hard it is to find places for them," Voge said.
As of Thursday, the shelter was home to about 120 cats, according to administrative technician Lindsey Edward. It was meant to house about 90. The adoption center will have space for about 20 cats. Cats will still be available for adoption at the shelter.
Putting cats at the adoption center will help prevent the spread of disease, Trice said, because Animal Control will be able to separate healthy cats from sick or injured ones.
"One of the main things is just to get the healthy cats out of here," she said.
Voge is also working on setting up a "kitty cam," using cameras already in the Beaufort Town Center store, so people can watch online as the cats play.
About 20 cats will be in the adoption center at a time, and the donor is also providing a flat-screened TV so the cats can watch programs. An enclosed office space in the back will be used as a quiet room where people can play with individual cats.
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